Mayors and leaders of Liverpool City Region, Greater Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, and the Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority have met to demand a fairer deal for the North. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram is joining with other Northern political leaders to call on the Government to honour its commitment to invest fully in the transport network.
Following the Transport Summit in August, the Mayors and leaders of Liverpool City Region, Greater Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, and the Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority met again ahead of the party conference season.
They want to maintain the momentum of the Leeds summit to continue pressing the case for investment into projects such as ‘Crossrail for the North’.
They also discussed the need to establish a body to provide a louder voice on a national and international stage to celebrate and promote the North of England.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling caused alarm among Northern political and business leaders in the summer when he publicly backed London’s Crossrail2 project while failing to offer similar assurances for schemes in the North of England.
With the Conservative Part Conference shortly to take place the leaders aim to keep up the pressure on ministers and are also looking for a stronger voice at the Brexit negotiating table.
Mr Rotheram said: “This was another really positive gathering and strengthened the growing sense that we need to work more collaboratively to ensure the interests of our regions are forcefully presented within national political debate.
“The UK is simply too London-centric and we need to be inventive and determined if we are going to off-set its disproportionate influence and share of national resource.
“Bringing political, business and civic leaders together to help explore how best we can achieve this is an important, and probably overdue contribution, to the task of rebalancing both our politics and our economy.”